Nebraska received a verbal commitment from Omaha Gross fullback C.J. Zimmerer for the class of 2009. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound fullback becomes the fourth player to commit to NU for this class and the first on the offensive side of the ball.
NU coach Bo Pelini and his staff may trying to lock up the in-state players as early as they can. The Huskers were Zimmerer’s first suitor and the commitment took little time to secure.
Zimmerer was given All-State honors playing for Gross last season, amassing 701 yards and 11 touchdowns from his fullback spot. He was even more of a standout on defense, registering 123 tackles, five sacks and an interception. But, it is been made clear that NU is recruiting him as a fullback.
Personally, I like seeing that kind of on-field production and All-State merit. On the downside, Zimmerer is a pretty low-profile recruit who didn’t have much interest from other schools. Fans used to more highly regarded recruits can already be heard moaning.
Two things are becoming clear for NU’s recruiting class, even this early in the process. First, they are addressing their need positions right away. After senior Thomas Lawson, NU has a lot of unknowns at the fullback position. Second, the revised game plan under Shawn Watson will apparently feature the fullback more than it did under Callahan.
Based on the offers they have out to players, Pelini and his staff are trying to lock up the Nebraska borders and keep any player they deem worthy of Big 12 football in the state. Zimmerer becomes the second commitment from a Nebraska prep player so far, joining Lincoln Northeast’s Cole Pensick.
Fans can discuss the merit of this strategy until they are blue in the face. You can consider it like ‘picking the low hanging fruit’ and getting the momentum going early. Maybe it is better go get these home-state kids early before they get eyes for other schools. There are others who believe that these kids will be available and willing to go to NU later in the recruiting process because they have strong feelings for the home state.
I just wish this same mentality had been in place all of last recruiting season, when Nebraska had as many top-drawer football players in the state as I can remember. Far too many got away to other schools. Clearly, Pelini and company were not going to let Zimmerer fall in to that category.